best of the week: july 31

Brandon and I went through our dvd’s last weekend and picked out two boxes and one bags worth to sell to Wee Book Inn. As usual, the ones they don’t take we’ll donate. I switched the movies to two of the the bookshelves and the books that were there into the trunk(the television dvd’s are still in the trunk). There are so many movies we own that we haven’t even seen yet, and I want to make sure we do watch them instead of just sitting and gathering dust. There are likely a few that will go into the sell bags after we’ve watched them once anyway.

I don’t usually read Thought Catalog, but these two articles came across my radar and I found some useful inspiration towards not keeping things in your life that you don’t need, and ways to simplify your life. I have a lot of Stuff sitting around, waiting for me to get off my butt and sell it on Kijiji, but I may sacrifice the extra bit of money and just Get It OUT. I won’t make any decisions until after our vacation(which I’m getting more and more excited about), so we’ll just have a bit more clutter until then.

Still have yet to “finish” (ha!) the living room plan, but won’t have time until we’re back from vacation. I’m hoping to move the last two bookshelves and create a reading nook by the window, but the shelves alone are an entire afternoon job. It’s been so nice having the tv where it is in front of the couch, and I can turn it around to point out at the living room when I’m on the exercise bike(The Mindy Project is super great for workouts and laughter).

Ramping up for some busy weekends in August. The vacation will be well-deserved(or at least, steadfastly looked forward to). Have a wonderful weekend!

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small reno, big changes: why

I’m excited to share with you a new series here on LWYS, written by my friend Jessica. She and her wife Emma are embarking on a renovation this autumn that will change their entire space! I will be posting her updates and pictures every second Wednesday. Many thanks to Jessica and Emma for sharing this experience with us, and inviting us along during the process.

For this first post, Jessica explains what drew her and Emma to this particular space.

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We purchased our downtown Edmonton apartment in March 2011. And we love it! We love it more than we could have even imagined when we bought it over three years ago. When we first walked into the space, I’ll admit, I had a hard time imagining where all of our stuff would go. I grew up on a farm and space was abundant and you didn’t ever really throw out stuff or limit the amount of stuff you owned because there was always somewhere to put your “junk.” So 450 square feet seemed a little on the small side for me. Although our previous rental was about 600 square feet and we never used a fair bit of that space, I was still apprehensive. Luckily, Emma immediately saw the potential and after half a day of convincing me, we decided to buy it.

I know small living isn’t for everyone but here are some of the reasons we love our lil’ place and why one might want to consider a smaller unit:

Location: Buying a smaller unit made it affordable for us to be in the exact location we wanted to live: downtown. Living downtown was a no-brainer for us. We enjoy the convenience of walking most places, and how many amenities are close by. We like that it’s a busy area where we’re surrounded by friends and activities.
Location: Again! What didn’t even occur to us when we purchased our place was how accessible the river valley is. We are able to access Louise McKinney park, we can cross the pedestrian bridge and enjoy Millcreek Ravine or easily visit Riverdale and Rossdale. So, while we’re in the middle of urban downtown, green space is just a brief walk away.
Transit accessibility: Since we’re right downtown we have the best transit service in the city. Heck, our building is right on top on Central Station. I can take an elevator down to the station, without needing to go outside. We were even able to get rid of our car! Car-free for three years! But whenever we need a car we’re surrounded by car rental agencies. Renting occasionally is still cheaper than owning a car!
Inspiration: Due to the lack of square footage we are forced to come up with creative ideas for utilizing our space as efficiently as possible and consider different ways of doing things.
Simplicity: When you don’t have a lot of room you must exercise restraint when it comes to accumulating “stuff” and really consider whether you need certain items and where you will put certain things. But it also means that our place is really easy and quick to clean (an hour at most).
Carbon footprint: With a small unit comes a smaller footprint. It takes less energy to run a small space, and it shows in our bills!
No unused space: We use every single room we have. There’s no space in our unit that we’re not using on a daily basis. Growing up, my family had a formal dining room that was only ever used on special occasions. That seemed so silly to us.
Unconventional: Our building was converted from a commercial space. Because of this we ended up with nice, high ceilings. When your space is smaller, high ceilings are a blessing and they’re great for storage.
Money stuff: When we bought our place we weren’t even looking for a space to buy. We saw the price and crunched the numbers. The numbers came out similar to what we were paying for rent currently so we decided to take the plunge.

So enough talk about how much we love our place. Here it is:

the current layout
the current layout

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That’s just the beginning! Two weeks from now, Jessica talks about the plans for renovating the space.

inspiration without comparison

“I can be inspired by my friends […] without having to replicate their journey.”

This quote leaped out at me when I read Courtney Carver’s “The 3 Step Process to Redefine Your Relationship With Stuff“, and it’s one I should have written somewhere in my space. I’m very bad with comparing myself to others, and of course they usually come out ahead. Everyone has battles, but it’s difficult to remember that when all we usually hear is the good news. And why would we not? Not everyone has tight-knit relationships with each other that make is easier to confess when one is having a hard time. We don’t like to appear as failures, or struggling.

For me, writing this blog has often been a challenge. I would like to appear with my space completely organized and ready at a moment’s notice for guests, but that is absolutely not the case. I have, however, gotten better at not apologizing for the state of my living room. It still happens, but not every single time. (Even if I’m biting my tongue to avoid saying it.) I have posted pictures of spaces in transition, which I wouldn’t have done before. Yes, it’s a mess. Yes, it’s in progress. But, it is temporary.

We will all have some tolerations for the sake of the end result.

But not everyone will show them to the world. Or in a blogger’s case, the little corner of the internet world where our readers reside. I wish more blogs would put up messy photos. We’re all so concerned with how “perfect” everything is, even while in transition. I don’t take professional-looking photos. I don’t spend hours editing them. Often, the only editing I will do is to resize the images for posting. I have the ability to change the lighting, colouring, and saturation(etc., etc.). I could probably edit a cartoon cat into something if I really wanted. But I don’t. Because I’m happier with my photography, and happy with the fact that I’m posting photos at all.

 

best of the week: july 24

I can’t stop watching this video after seeing it at the Just For Cats Film Festival at the Metro Cinema last weekend.

What does Freedom mean to you?

I listened to After The Jump on my walk to work this morning, and the Jealousy episode really struck a chord with me. I often get jealous, but not in a healthy way. I find it shuts me down, rather than inspiring me to charge on. For myself, this will likely be listened to numerous times.

Deleted around 150 emails and put 2 items in the donate bag. Only slight decluttering this week. Definitely have some paper piles staring me down. In fun times news, I co-hosted the Comics! The Blog’s podcast this week. Check it out, and listen to myself and Brandon talk about Doctor Who and recommend some comics!

Starting next week, there will be some exciting new material on the blog. I can’t wait for you to see it!

 

moving upwards

Lately, I’ve been feeling guilt over spending money. Well, and bringing things into the apartment. I’ve been punishing myself because I was trying to cut myself off from buying anything, when I should have been congratulating myself a bit for buying less. I’ve still made a few dumb purchases, but I think they sting more when there’s less to compare them with. Thankfully, I’ve got some good new stuff as well. Things are still leaving my space, of course. I have plans to try and sell a bunch of stuff on Kijiji and put that money towards my debt. And there are always multiple places to donate items to.

As for my debt, it’s being chipped away. I raised my monthly payments for my student loans a couple months ago, and am leaving that be until I pay off my credit card. Once I get my credit card down to zero, I’m going to pay it off every month. I’m going to try to hold myself to that. My issue was what most of us have. I raised the limit on my card(more than once). Note to my past self, and present/future you’s – only raise the limit if you truly need it that high. I’m trying to get mine down to a level that can cover vet bills in case of emergency, and I’m pretty close to that right now.

Thanks to a promotion at work, I can tackle my debt more efficiently. That was what I was hinting at a couple weeks ago. It probably sounded ominous, but that’s because I was worried I wouldn’t get the position. In the end, things turned out and I have a more stable career. Thankfully. I’m in a good place right now, but I do still have a lot of decluttering to focus on. There’s a lot going on right now, which is translating into a lot of stuff coming into the apartment. (Don’t even get me starting on shoes and how I have weird alien feet that don’t fit anything and — just know, shoes = frustration)

More pictures of the living room to come. I’m hoping to get the last phase done before Brandon and I go on vacation next month, and get the place clean enough so my mom can live here comfortably while we’re gone. She’s offered to take care of the cats and I’m really happy to have her here.

I may have cut back in my writing on here, but I’m very excited to be announcing some other voices here in the coming weeks. More on this new project in Thursday’s post!

minimizing my writing

I’ll be pulling back a bit here on the blog. I started with two posts a week, and moved too quickly to four, so I’ll be going back down to my original two. Please expect to hear from me on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I’m hoping that this will give me more time to put more of myself into my writing, and give you longer posts to delve into. Also, more time to find gifs, maybe? That could happen, I’m not gonna lie.

living room: phase three

Last week was pretty bad, I know. Thankfully, B and I had time this weekend to clean up a bit and figure out how to move forward from there. After a few weeks of uncomfortably watching tv from the table, we moved it over to the “living room” space. Now, all I have left is to move the other two bookshelves, create a reading/conversation space with the chairs and coffee table, and hopefully have a pocket of space to store my exercise bike when it’s not in use. Hmmm, that “all” seems like a lot. Oh well! I like the space more and more these days with the different areas, instead of one big room with a giant space of nothing in the middle.

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Extra points if you can find Jim in this picture.

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Remember that a lot of things are still in transition, so the coffee table(and everything on it) will be moved. Brandon’s going to take care of the piles, but we’re still going to look like we’re moving until we can drive those boxes out to my parents house. I hid the wires as best I could, but I think that’s what those may look like until someone has a better idea.